Wednesday
Jan282015

How To Become a Grown-Up CrossFit Gym


I recently had a guy visit my gym who was part of a relatively new affiliate. He told me he was really impressed by all of CFSBK’s programs, staff members, and systems, and he kept comparing our gym to his relatively minimalist set-up. I was quick to tell him that things have not always been the way they are now. Our “Front Desk” used to be a pencil pouch with a note scribbled next to it that said, “Please leave $20!” and I used to be the only “Admin,” which meant people were lucky if I answered their email in under a week. Over the past seven years, our business has grown considerably and we’ve been able to expand our staff members, facility, and infrastructure. In today’s article, I want to share all the different professional roles we’ve created over the years at CFSBK. I hope this information gives you ideas and inspiration as you expand the size of your gym and the kinds of services you offer, or perhaps just reorganize who does what.

A caveat though: size doesn’t matter! It’s important to keep in mind that larger doesn’t always equal better, and a small affiliate should in no way be considered immature or under-realized. The point is to have enough people on-board so that you’re not burning the candle at both ends and can interact with your business the way you want to—not the way you have to. Defining roles and delegating responsibility allows more motivated and qualified people than yourself to take on what you’re incapable of or unmotivated to do, which inevitably benefits both you and everyone involved with your business.

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Monday
Dec222014

Why Are CrossFit Gyms So Expensive?


As 2014 has passed and everyone starts planning the 2015 version of themselves, an inevitable first step for many is researching and purchasing a gym membership. Whenever curious friends or family ask me how much my gym costs, their typical response is surprise at our $230 a month price tag (for 5 times a week). The next question is invariably, "Why are CrossFit gyms so much more expensive than regular gyms?"—which is a valid question if you’re comparing CrossFit affiliates to whatever’s considered standard for a “gym membership.” But the answer to that question requires assessing what you’re actually paying for—and the fact that while there are many similarities (a gym is, after all, mainly just a place where you work out), the range of services and support you get will vary greatly, and may ultimately determine whether you’re back to binge watching New Girl on Netflix instead of showing up to the gym on February 1.

In this article, we’ll discuss how the prices of traditional gyms versus CrossFit affiliates are set in the first place, and evaluate what’s included in any either membership using three straightforward criteria: facilities, training services, and atmosphere. We’ll inevitably have to make some generalizations and of course, I am openly attempting to build the case for the merits of CrossFit gyms, but by answering this question, I hope you’ll be able to better evaluate what’s important to you when choosing a gym and what you’re actually paying for.

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Tuesday
Dec092014

How To Get the Most Out of CrossFit Group Classes


By Noah Abbott, with an introduction by David Osorio

A professionally run CrossFit group class requires orchestrating a lot of moving parts. On ITA, we've talked about how and why coaches should use time stamps to organize classes, discussed how to intelligently organize lifting segments, and even described how introductions in group classes help facilitate a sense of community and set the tone for training. It is absolutely the responsibility of the coaches running each class to make sure things are clear, smooth, and safe for everyone. But group classes are also a dance of sorts, that require members to also hold up their end of the bargain by being prepared. In one of our previous articles, "A Letter to New CrossFitters: Good Training Habits," we discussed some fundamental and conceptual perspectives regarding how to get the most out of your overall CrossFit experience. In today's article, we're talking to athletes, about what you can do to be a proactive member of your affiliate and get more out of your CrossFit group classes—and win the admiration of your coaches in the process. Enjoy!

Fresh out of Foundations, the world of CrossFit can seem a bit overwhelming, full of jargon, percentages, and acronyms only a government employee could love. (“This is an AMRAP WOD of T2B and DUs!!!”) While things can seem to move pretty fast, there are some specific strategies and considerations that will make your daily hour of fitness better spent. Equally important, it will make for a more pleasant experience for your fellow members, and allow your coaches more time to spend doing what they love (yelling “Knees out!” for instance) and less time in an administrative or cat-shepherding function. To be fully awesome, do this: 

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Monday
Dec012014

STRONG Gym: Inside a Strength Training Gym

As told to Katharine Reece for Inside the Affiliate by Strong Gym co-owner, Matt Reynolds. 

Basic Statistics

Gym name: STRONG Gym

Location: Springfield, Missouri

Year started: July 2008

Estimated number of members: 900

Square footage: 14,000 square feet

Gym co-owners: Matt Reynolds, Paden Stringer, and William McNeely (read more about them here)

Number of full-time and part-time trainers: Four full-time staff who are also coaches, three full-time coaches, and three owners, who also coach 

ITA: Tell us the story about how your gym started. 

MR: After training out of my two-car garage from 2001 to 2008, our group of competitive powerlifters and Strongmen had outgrown the space. We weren’t a business, but rather a group of training partners. William McNeely and I opened STRONG Gym, in 2008, in a typical industrial space—10,000 square-foot warehouse with no heat, no A/C, no business plan, no insurance—and with no delusions of grandeur. We weren’t starting a business, we just wanted a place to train. And then people started showing up.

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Monday
Nov172014

How to Program Deadlifts at CrossFit Affiliates


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit another gym while on vacation. I was excited to go and especially since starting to write ITA, I've become even more curious about how other people run classes and write their programming. At this affiliate, the strength segment called for a 3RM deadlift, followed by 10RM deadlift. At the whiteboard review, there wasn't a lot of context provided for the less experienced athletes regarding how to organize their lifting to meet the two goals. Curious about the intention of the programming, I approached the coach and asked her three relatively basic questions: 1) Are these touch-and-go or dead start deadlifts; 2) How many attempts at the 3RM and 10RM are you expecting us to do; and 3) Do you have any guidance as to how to pick a 10RM weight based on the 3RM. In a noncommittal tone, she told me to do whatever I felt like doing since it wasn't specified.

Looking around the room, unable to turn off my coaching eye, people seemed to be just winging it, making multiple attempts at 3 and 10RMs, dropping the bar frequently, and some were losing their positioning from the accumulated fatigue. Without proper context and guidance, people were more or less left to their own devices to figure out the programming and a few were overextending themselves beyond what they could organize and handle. The coach was walking around trying to help people with fault corrections, but refining movement is only one part of what makes an effective and professional coach. Understanding the intention of your programming, communicating it effectively, and then being able to scale or modify based on what you see are equally important, and unfortunately were in short shift during this segment. 

I've wanted to write an article about programming deadlifts at CrossFit affiliates for a while and my experience at this gym brought it back to the forefront of my mind. Executed correctly, the deadlift is the most effective exercise for overloading hip extension and developing a strong and stable back. But done incorrectly or programmed haphazardly, the deadlift is an extremely effective way to fuck yourself or your members up. In today's article, we'll discuss how we program deadlifts at CFSBK for strength versus using them in metcons, and we’ll share some additional thoughts related to basic execution of the lift and context of usage.

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